Victoria: At least 198 people have lost their lives to the toxic and unregulated drug supply, according to preliminary data released by the BC Coroners Service.

Between January and July 2023, at least 1,455 deaths were attributed to toxic drugs, the largest number ever reported by the BC Coroners Service in the first seven months of a calendar year. 

The BC Coroners Service said the 198 suspected unregulated drug deaths represent a 5 per cent decrease from the number of deaths in July 2022 (208), and a 4 percent increase over the number of deaths in June 2023 (191).

“By health authority, the highest number of unregulated drug deaths are in Vancouver Coastal Authority (423) and Fraser Health Authority (397). 

“I am saddened to once again report that British Columbia’s toxic drug crisis shows no signs of abating,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. 

“We are continuing to experience record numbers of deaths provincewide because of the toxic drug supply. The unregulated illicit market is highly unpredictable and continues to put thousands of lives at risk each month. Despite recommendations for the urgent expansion of a safer drug supply, very few have access to a stable, lower-risk alternative.”

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